Though regulations and restrictions related to the global pandemic have begun to lift, many people still feel increased stress levels. Stress has detrimental effects on your health, including your smile.
If your teeth are not healthy, the appearance of your smile might diminish too. Paying attention to stress-related behaviors can prevent this damage from accruing to your teeth. Read on to learn about three habits that stem from stress and can negatively impact the look of your smile over time.
3 Stress-Related Behaviors That Can Harm Your Smile
Drinking Beverages That Stain
Stress can disrupt your sleep schedule. If you wake up feeling groggy, you may turn to coffee or tea to give you a caffeine boost that will energize you for your busy day.
But dark-colored beverages like tea and coffee contain tannins, a substance that absorbs into tooth enamel over time. This will leave stains on the surface of your teeth that cannot be removed with your typical teeth brushing regimen.
Though you may sip through a straw or add milk to your beverage to reduce these chances, you will not eliminate the risk of tooth discoloration from these drinks entirely. Dentists recommend avoiding or limiting dark-colored foods and beverages from your diet to protect your tooth color. If you notice stains, yellowing, or dullness in your smile, ask your dentist about professional teeth whitening services.
Grinding Your Teeth
If you feel stressed, you might notice the beginning or a worsening of teeth grinding or clenching habits. Dentists refer to this behavior as bruxism, and it poses a danger to the look and structure of your teeth.
The grating of the top teeth against the bottom teeth creates pressure that can wear down or break teeth. Some patients may not realize they do this since it often manifests while they sleep.
Dentists may suggest that patients who grind or clench their teeth wear a custom-made night guard as they sleep to protect their smiles from unconscious bruxism overnight. The individualized fit will allow for thorough preservation as well as comfort and security in knowing it will not slip out of place during the night.
Skipping Routine Dental Visits
High levels of stress may make it tempting to skip your routine dentist appointments and free up your schedule. However, these visits play a crucial role in your overall oral health.
During these appointments, a dentist cleans excess plaque and tartar from your smile, especially from spots you might have missed while brushing and flossing. This is a vital step in preventing major dental damage. The lingering plaque will eat away at your smile, potentially creating irreversible harm to the appearance and structure of your teeth.
The dentist will also examine your smile for early signs of dental problems like cavities and gum disease. Prompt diagnosis will mean that the dentist can provide treatment sooner, stopping any issues before they can become dental emergencies. Continue seeing your dentist for teeth cleanings and oral exams for optimal preventative dental care.